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OSCE representative Désir welcomes milestone ruling of Constitutional Court releasing Alpay and Altan, urges Turkey to release all journalists


OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir welcomed the ruling by Turkey’s Constitutional Court to release two journalists, calling it a step of vital importance in improving media freedom and freedom of expression in the country.

“Today’s decision by the Constitutional Court states that the detention of journalists violates the Constitution of Turkey,” Désir said. “I trust that besides giving back freedom to journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan, whose release I called for earlier, this landmark decision also paves the way for the judiciary to urgently release all imprisoned journalists in the country.”

On 11 January, the Constitutional Court decided that the rights of imprisoned journalists Alpay and Altan have been violated, and that their detention was unjust. Writer and journalist Alpay, detained since 27 July 2016 and suffering from multiple health problems, as well as author and journalist Altan, in detention since 22 September 2016, are expected to be released later, on January 11.

“I trust that the decision, the full text of which is expected to be published soon, will emphasize the importance of protecting freedom of expression and will thus pave the way for the release of all journalists in Turkey,” Désir said. “It is of utmost importance that Turkey changes course and starts protecting the work of journalists, and through it the right of the public to access pluralistic information on issues affecting their lives.”

Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe